By Dilip Chaware
While 230 cases were filed by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) against organisers of Hindu festivals between 2015 and 2021, just 22 were filed against the loudspeakers on mosques for violation of sound decibel norms during the period.
This has been pointed out by the Hindu Jan Jagruti Samiti, whose statistics is based on the replies received to its RTI queries. The Samiti has alleged that MPCB regularly publishes the details of noise pollution during Hindu festivals but has remained silent on the daily use of loudspeakers on mosques. While the festivals like Ganesh Utsav, Navaratri and Diwali are just for specific durations, the use of loudspeakers from mosques is throughout the year. This is discrimination and unjust for Hindus, the Samiti has complained. It has demanded dismissal of the MPCB officials responsible for this partiality.
The Samiti argued that MPCB routinely installs equipment to measure noise pollution during Hindu festivals across 27 districts in Maharashtra. The data is analysed and uploaded on MPCB’s website. Such annual reports are available since 2015. However, no such studies are carried out to measure the noise pollution caused by the loudspeakers on mosques.
It said over 840 loudspeakers were issued permission in Mumbai after MNS leader Raj Thackeray raised the issue in his public meetings. Does this mean they were being used without permission till then? If so, why action was not taken against them? The Samiti declared its resolve to pursue the matter with the state government.
A veteran journalist, formerly Special Correspondent, The Times of India, Mumbai.